Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - August 14, 2017

Maritime Security

Indian Ocean Naval Symposium’s (IONS) maiden International Maritime Search and Rescue Exercise (IMMSAREX)

  • The ships and aircraft of the members and observers of the IONS including China, India and Pakistan will participate in the exercise.
  • In addition, Bangladesh is also scheduling to host “extraordinary conclave of Chiefs,” a meeting of chiefs of Navy of IONS members before it hands over the Chair to Iran.
  • The side-by-side participation of the Indian and Chinese Navies in IMMSAREX exercise will come amid growing India’s skepticism of Chinese naval activities in the Indian Ocean region (IOR) and establishment of China’s first overseas base at Djibouti.
  • India has considerably expanded its engagement with countries to further its own interests as well as to check the rapid expansion of Chinese naval forays in the IOR.

Enlighten about Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS)

  • Launched by India in February 2008 IONS is a regional forum of Indian Ocean littoral states.

Members to IONS

There are 35 members – navies of the IONS which have been geographically grouped into the following four sub-regions:
South Asian Littorals: India, Bangladesh, Maldives, Pakistan, Seychelles and Sri Lanka
West Asian Littorals: Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Yemen
East African Littorals: Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Eriteria, France, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan and Tanzania
South East Asian and Australian Littorals: Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Timor Leste.
Observer Countries: China, Japan etc

Objectives -

  • It is a voluntary initiative that seeks to increase maritime cooperation among navies of the littoral states of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) by providing an open and inclusive forum for discussion of regionally relevant maritime issues.
  • To generate a flow of information between naval professionals that would lead to common understanding and possibly cooperative solutions on the way ahead..

Science & Technology

US scientists have developed the world’s first plantbased Zika vaccine that may be more effective, safer and cheaper than other vaccines against the mosquito-borne Zika virus.

  • The vaccine was developed using proteins derived from Tobacco plant.
  • Currently there are no licensed vaccines or therapeutics available to combat Zika.

About the Vaccine

  • The plant-based Zika vaccine works against DIII, a part of a Zika viral protein that plays a key role for the virus to infect people.
  • All aviviruses have the envelope protein on the outside part of the virus. It has three domains. The domain III has a unique stretch of DNA for the Zika virus.
  • Researchers exploited domain III to generate a robust and protective immune response that is unique for Zika. First they had grown the envelope protein in bacteria then prepared the DIII protein domain in tobacco plants.
  • The multiple immunisation experiments of the vaccine performed on mice shows 100% protection against multiple Zika virus strains in mice.
  • Plant protein-based vaccine uses smallest and most unique part of the Zika virus that can still elicit a potent and robust immune response.
  • It produces a potent protective immune response against Zika Virus and also not produce antibodies that may be cross reactive for West Nile fever, Dengue, Yellow fever or others.

Enlighten about Zika virus

  • Zika virus is vector borne disease transmitted primarily by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, the same mosquito that transmits dengue, West Nile fever, Yellow fever.
  • The virus has been named after Zika forest in Uganda where it was rst isolated in 1947.
  • The virus is capable of causing serious birth defects i.e. neurological disorders and foetal deformation known as Microcephaly in which infants are born with abnormally smaller heads.
  • Besides a possible link between the virus and GuillainBarré syndrome (a condition in which the body’s immune system attacks part of the nervous system) is also suspected.
  • It is also found that, sexual transmission of Zika virus disease is possible.
  • The worldwide Zika threat first emerged in 2015, infecting millions in South America


Indra – Triservice Exercise

  • WHAT -India and Russia for first time are going to conduct Indra triservices exercise Involving their armies, navies and the air forces
  • WHEN- October 2017
  • WHY - It will primarily focus on achieving coordination between forces of the two countries in a tri- services integrated theatre command scenario
  • It will be for the first time India will participate in a triservices exercise with a foreign country with such large scale participation by Army, Navy and Air Force
  • The 2017 Indra exercise will be held in Russia including in mountainous Vladivostok region.

Enlighten about the Exercise

  • A total of 350 Indian Army personnel will participate at the mega exercise
  • The contingents by the Indian Navy and AirForce (IAF) will also be sizeable in numbers.
  • Russian army, navy and air force also for time holding tri-services exercise with other country.
  • The exercise will take place in the midst of evolving unpredictable security situation in the region
  • It will be conducted at a time when India’s ties with China have nosedived over the border dispute issue and also at time when its ties with Pakistan have deteriorated over cross-border terrorism and number of other issues

India- Russia Relations

  • India is signicantly ramping up its defence capability and has lined up billions of dollars of procurement proposals as part of military modernisation.
  • Russia has been a long-standing defence partner of India and both the countries are now eyeing to further deepen the ties
  • During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Russia in June 2017, both countries had decided to “upgrade and intensify” defence cooperation through joint manufacture, co-production and codevelopment of key military hardware and equipment
  • A vision document, issued then also had mentioned that both the countries also decided to work towards a qualitatively higher level of military-to-military cooperation


Infusion Therapy for nurses – Online Course Launched

  • The Infusion Nurses Society (INS)-India in its 6th National conference launched country’s first online course on Infusion Therapy for nurses
  • INS is global authority in infusion therapy. Under the online course, the INS aims to train over 3000 nurses in the vital medical procedure.
  • The course will enable members to access the various infusion therapy modules and presentations through its website.

Enlighten about Infusion therapy

  • Infusion therapy involves the administration of medication drug intravenously i.e. through intramuscular injections and epidural routes.
  • It is prescribed when a patient’s condition is severe that it cannot be treated effectively by oral medications.
  • Nine of ten patients admitted in hospitals receive infusion therapy for therapeutic or diagnostic purposes.
  • Some of the diseases requiring infusion therapy include infections that are unresponsive to oral antibiotics, cancer and cancer-related pain, gastrointestinal diseases, dehydration and more.
  • Improper infusion practices may lead to complications, causing an increase in morbidity, mortality, duration of hospital stay and healthcare costs

International Relations

INDIA-ASEAN Youth Summit began in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh to commemorate 25th anniversary of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

  • Five day Summit
  • THEME – “Shared Values, Common Destiny”
  • The first of its kind event was organised by Union Foreign Ministry, Union Sports Ministry, Madhya Pradesh government and India Foundation.
  • Madhya Pradesh was chosen for this event as the Sanchi stupa located here strengthens the state’s cultural aliation with the ASEAN countries.
  • Around 100 delegates from ASEAN countries Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam are going to participate in the summit
  • It will also have participation of 75 youth leaders from India.
  • The participants will represent some of the largest institutions in their countries, including leaders from ruling as well as opposition parties, think tanks, media and universities to renew and revitalise engagement with the region reecting close cultural and civilisational links.

Enlighten about Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN)

  • ASEAN regional organisation comprising 10 South east Asian countries that aims to promote intergovernmental cooperation and facilitates economic integration amongst its members.
  • It came into existence on August 8, 1967 after ASEAN declaration (also known as Bangkok declaration).
  • AIM - to accelerate economic growth, intergovernmental cooperation, social progress, and sociocultural evolution among its members, protect of regional stability and facilitate political, military, educational and cultural integration amongst its members and Asian states.
  • MOTTO - “One Vision, One Identity, One Community
  • Its 10 members are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam”


Largest volcanic region on Earth – Antarctica

  • University of Edinburgh Researchers in Britain have discovered the largest volcanic region on Earth, two km below the surface of the vast ice sheet in west Antarctica
  • They have found 91 previously unknown active volcanoes in the region known as the West Antarctic rift system, adding to the exiting 47 volcanoes that were discovered earlier.
  • This makes it largest volcanic region on the Earth.
  • These active peaks are concentrated in the west Antarctic rift system region — which stretches 3,500 km from Antarctica’s Ross ice shelf to the Antarctic peninsula.
  • The height of these newly discovered active volcanoes range from 100 to 3,850 metres, with the highest being almost as tall as Switzerland’s Eiger mountain (3,970 metre). All of these volcanoes are covered in thick layer of ice
  • This region is larger than east Africa’s volcanic ridge which is currently rated as the densest concentration of volcanoes in the world.
  • Any volcanic activity of Antarctic rift system may have crucial implications for the rest of the planet.
  • If one of the volcanoes in Antarctic rift system erupts, it could further destabilise west Antarctica’s ice sheets.
  • If it causes the melting of ice on eruption may speed up the ow of ice into the sea. It will enhance sea level rises that are already affecting our oceans due to climate change.